S.G. Browne

Lucky Bastard San Francisco Blog Tour – Apple Fritters and Mochas

Nick Monday is a luck poacher. But once he’s poached luck from an unsuspecting mark, how does he get it out of his system so he can process it and sell it on the black market? Well, let’s just say that “he pissed it all away” isn’t just an expression.

Without going into detail (which you’ll just have to learn by reading Lucky Bastard), in order to avoid getting addicted to the luck they steal, poachers need to get it out of their system as soon as possible. Which means prepping with a mixture of sugar and diuretics. And for Nick Monday, his poison of choice is coffee and apple fritters:

The combination of sugar and caffeine helps with the processing of good luck into a marketable form. For others, sugar and alcohol does the trick. I don’t know why, since I never got better than a C in chemistry, but it’s what’s worked for generations. My great-grandma washed down rock candy with straight vodka, while Grandpa swore by powdered doughnuts and Budweiser. For me, it’s cappuccinos or mochas and apple fritters. Beer just makes me sleepy.

Because Nick’s got a thing for corporate-coffeehouse baristas (it’s complicated), he drinks cappuccinos from Starbucks and mochas from Peet’s. He also uses Starbucks to conduct some of his business, like he does in Chapter 7 at the Starbucks on Union and Laguna in Cow Hollow:

Starbucks is an ideal place for making drop-offs. It’s out in the open where no one expects it. No one’s looking around to see what anyone else is doing. People are too busy reading the paper or surfing the Internet or playing with their iPhones to care. Sometimes I think you could be masturbating while waiting in line and no one would notice.

When it comes to deep-fried pastry goodness, Nick gets his apple fritter fix from All Star Donuts on Chestnut Street in the Marina and from Bob’s Donuts on Polk Street in Russian Hill. Now I’ll be the first to admit that Bob’s has superior overall quality when it comes to donuts, but their apple fritters are a little too light for my taste. Apple fritters should be dense and artery clogging and make you feel like eating the whole thing was a really bad idea. So when it comes to apple fritters, All Star Donuts takes the prize.

While I’ve always been a fan of apple fritters, up until two years ago I’d never consumed a single coffee drink from either Starbucks or Peet’s. True fact. Although I would occasionally enjoy a cappuccino at a restaurant after a meal, unlike most writers I’ve never been hooked up to a caffeine IV drip, so I never did any writing in cafes.

But while I was writing Lucky Bastard, I decided I should probably drink a mocha and a cappuccino from both Starbucks and Peet’s for research, to get inside the head of Nick Monday. The next thing I know, I’m walking into Peet’s once or twice a week for a mocha to get a caffeine fix. Now I write at the Coffee Roastery on Chestnut Street two to three times a week while drinking a sixteen ounce mocha, no whipped cream.

This, of course, led to the inevitable mistake of drinking a mocha after 4:00pm and not being able to fall asleep until 2:00am. Which is what happened to me yesterday. And yes, that’s an apple fritter from All Star Donuts in the photo above on the right. If you’re wondering about the monkey, then you might want to check out the Name My Monkey Contest being hosted over on Facebook.